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Weather extremes test our homes

Australia has experienced it’s share of weather extremes in 2014.

Sydney alone experienced two record thunderstorms with once-in-a-century downpours towards the end of 2014, with cyclonic-strength destructive wind gusts; preceded by a snowfall event in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. On top of that the city has experienced another year of exceptional warmth.

Other parts of the country haven’t been left untouched by the weather; Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia are currently battling fierce bushfires under some of the worst bushfire conditions experienced for a long time.

While both Brisbane and Hobart experienced extreme storm fronts that brought large hail stones in the last few months of 2014 – resulting in enormous damage bills.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, in 2014, Australia had its third-warmest year in national records from 1910; with the addition of a relatively mild winter, once the warmth from inland Australia arrives in our cities, the mercury is sent up to uncomfortably high levels quickly – assisting in creating bushfire conditions and storm weather events. An example of this occurred in Sydney in late September, when it posted its earliest consecutive days above 32 degrees. In November, the western suburbs of the city were recording 40-plus days, and outer western suburbs reaching over 45 – setting new highs.

Bushfire season started early in 2014, the RFS reported 167 bush and grass fires in just four days in July; and started the official bushfire season a month early in preparedness.

Weather outlook for 2015

So what’s ahead for us in 2015 – it’s being tipped “highly likely” that we will experience warmer than average temperatures for the first half of 2015.  The Bureau of Meteorology has the El Nino tracker set at Alert, with Near El Nino conditions currently in the Pacific and a delayed monsoon, the result meaning Northern and Central Australia risk hotter than normal temperatures and that heat will flow down to the south.

How can you protect your home from weather extremes?

Gutters are a wide open entrance into the roof space of your home. During a storm or large downpour, overflowing gutters are one of the four most common reasons for water to enter a home during a storm. In addition to the risks during a storm; more than 80% of homes that burn down during a bushfire are set alight by embers that enter the home through gaps and vents (like your gutters) and if your gutters are full of leaves, the process is only accelerated.

Installing a quality gutter guard onto your gutters adds a level of protection for your home against the many weather extremes – rain, hail, bushfire embers, possums, and more.